Getting your teenager to read can be tricky. There are those who immediately take to books while others would rather watch movies and videos. We’ve got great news for you: graphic novels are a great middle ground.
Graphic novels can be more appealing to some of the youth due to its visual nature. At the same time, it’s an excellent way to encourage them to read. To get you started, here’s a starter list of the best graphic novels for teens.
Written by Craig Thompson and published in 2003, “Blankets” was created as an autobiography. Widely acclaimed as one of the best graphic novels for teens, Thompson’s book was praised for its art, story, and ability to blend both to create a captivating novel.
“Blankets” explores the author’s relationship with his brother, Phil; his parents; and his first love, Raina. The novel looks into the adventures Thompson shares with his brother as they grow up. It likewise dwells into how a teen deals with religion, given that Thompson’s parents are devout Christians. It also features a mature take on the reality of first love.
The graphic novel has won multiple awards including the 2004 Eisner Award and the 2005 Prix de la critique. “Blankets” is available in 16 languages.
This graphic novel is for those looking to get into classic literature but wants a modern twist. “Frankenstein” is what you exactly need. Gris Grimly masterfully combines his illustrations and stitches them with the words of the original author Mary Shelley.
Many critics and authors have praised this graphic novel adaptation of a classic tale. Director Guillermo del Toro has deemed Grimly as a “graveyard poet” for this work.
American Born Chinese
Here’s something that will give teens a good look into the importance of culture and help them understand the struggles that come with it.
Gene Luen Yang wrote “American Born Chinese” as three different stories. The first is about the legendary Monkey King, Sun Wukong. The second story looks at the life of Jin Wang, a second-generation child of Chinese immigrants who struggles to fit in. The third is about Danny, a young American boy who is troubled by the visits of his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee.
“American Born Chinese” received numerous awards such as the 2007 Eisner Award and was also nominated for the 2006 National Book Award, the first graphic novel to achieve such a feat. It is also a useful resource for helping students with social-cognitive difficulties in school.
Cartoonist Nidhi Chanani released her debut graphic novel “Pashmina” in 2007. Just like American Born Chinese, it explores themes on culture and tradition in today’s modern world.
The story is about Indian teenager Pri Das who has immigrated with her mother to Orange Country, California. She discovers a shawl—the titular pashmina—that transports her to a version of India of her own imagination. The novel is illustrated in black and white when Pri is in the US and shifts to vibrant colors when she is in India. Throughout the tale, she discovers the power in women, including her mother, making their own choices, as well as her own identity.
Pashmina is lauded as the first graphic novel to be entirely created by an Indian American. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) credits this as one of the top 10 best graphic novels for teens in 2018.
This One Summer
Targeted at older readers, “This One Summer” is about two teenage summer friends, Rose and Windy. This particular year, the two start to pay more attention to the lives of the adults around them and explore their interest in love. The result of authors Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s hard work is a beautiful coming-of-age novel that deals with complex themes accompanied by beautiful artwork.
Despite being considered one of the best graphic novels for teens, it has also gotten its fair share of critics. It was number one on the list of books that were most challenged in 2016 due to its inclusion of mature themes such as sexuality, the LGBT, and profanity. The National Coalition Against Censorship has since defended the book, saying that it still deserves the right to be in libraries.
I Am Alfonso Jones
Also intended for older teens, “I Am Alfonso Jones” was written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. Critics name this the first YA graphic novel that explores police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The story follows Alfonso Jones, a young boy who is shot by a police officer after the latter mistakenly sees a clothes hanger as a gun. In the afterlife, Alfonso finds himself on a train along with other known victims of police brutality. The novel also takes a look at the lives of those left behind to mourn the loss of their beloved Alfonso.
The book has made its way to YALSA’s top 10 graphic novels in 2018, and the New York Public Library named it one of the best graphic novels for teens.
Author and artist Noelle Stevenson initially created Nimona as a webcomic on blogging site Tumblr. This comic also served as Stevenson’s thesis, and she would later go on to publish it as a graphic novel in 2015.
The story follows the adventures of a shapeshifter named Nimona. She plays sidekick to a supervillain named Lord Ballister Blackheart. The novel looks at Nimona’s relationship with her boss and their quests against the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.
Nimona is a fun novel for teens interested in fantasy and adventure. Nimona was nominated in 2015 for an Eisner Award. In 2015, 20th Century Fox Animation announced that they would be creating a film adaptation, to be released in 2020.
Disclaimer On The Best Graphic Novels For Teens
Some of these novels explore mature themes, and parents are still advised to guide their teens when introducing these books.
Likewise, this is not a definitive list, and there are other well-written and beautifully illustrated novels out there. Take the time to explore graphic novels with your teens so that they can find out what genres interest them the most. Give them a try yourself and discover the beauty of merging words with art.DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on FamilyHype.com) is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a FamilyHype.com.